THE Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) has resumed face-to-face visitation for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), BJMP Spokesperson Superintendent Xavier Solda said on Thursday, December 15, 2022.
“We did a run through nitong resumption ng ating contact visitation last month, meron pa yang physical barriers ‘no, may transparent barriers pa yan. Pero ngayon, nakaupo na sila sa bangko, nasa isang mesa na sila, maari nang magkahawak ng kamay, maari nang pong magyakap yung mga pamilya,” he said in radio interview.
(We did a run through of the resumption of contact visitation last month where there are still physical barriers like the transparent barriers. Now, visitors can sit on the bench, they are at a table, they can hold hands, and families can hug.)
“At kaya nga natin isinulong ito kasi hindi lang naman physical or health concerns, pati yung mental health nila. Kailangan na rin natin ma-address kasi two years wala na ring mga bisita yan,” he added.
(And that's why we pushed for this because it's not just physical or health concerns, but also their mental health. We also need to address it because they haven't had any visitors in two years.)
Solda said they were prioritizing the immediate family for visitation.
He said visitors should be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, preferably with booster doses.
For those who are unvaccinated, they are required to present a negative Covid-19 swab test result taken within 72 hours prior to the visit or negative antigen test result taken within 24 hours.
Solda said visitation is only by appointment to avoid overcrowding and for the maintenance of strict minimum health protocols to prevent the spread of the virus, especially inside the detention facilities.
He said the length of each visit depends on the number of appointments for the day.
“So halimbawa po, pupuwede silang mabigyan ng isang oras o dalawang oras, depende po sa dami. Ngayon kung halimbawa iilan lang naman at kayang ma-accommodate doon sa visitation area, then mas mahaba,” he said.
(For example, visitors can be given an hour or two, depending on the volume of people. Now if for instance there are only a few that can be accommodated in the visitation area, then it will be longer.)
Visiting hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Mondays and Fridays are allotted for cleaning and disinfection in the facilities.
The BJMP has suspended the in-person visitation in 2020 in order to protect the PDLs against the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Inmates were only allowed to talk to their loved ones through different online platforms. (SunStar Philippines)